Beckley Area Foundation began the Students First program in 1996, to provide funding support for creative and innovative instructional projects. This grant opportunity supports Raleigh County classroom teachers, Pre-K through 12th grade. This year, BAF announced they increased the max award amount for each project to $750, from $500.
A committee comprised of current and retired educators, community volunteers and BAF board members reviewed applications utilizing a 'blind methodology'. This methodology does not present the applicant's name or school during the review process. Thank you to the volunteers who helped BAF review and recommend awards.
"On behalf of the BAF review committee, we would like to say congratulations to all the grant recipients this year. It’s exciting to see the energy, engagement and creative thinking these teachers are going to bring to their classrooms to inspire their students’ love of learning. We would also like to thank all those who applied, and we look forward to seeing even more teachers apply next year."
— Michelle Leftwich | Students First Chair and BAF Board Member
The BAF Board of Directors reviewed the committee grant recommendations for final approval and awarded $33,557.45 to 55 projects, supporting 44 teachers at 17 schools.
Full list of funded projects:
BAF is very thankful to the Carter Family Foundation for their continued partnership of this program.
Anyone interested in growing the pool of unrestricted funds that are used to address emerging needs and special projects, including the Students First Program, can make donations in any amount to any unrestricted fund. Mail contributions to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha Street, Beckley, WV 25801, or donate by clicking the button below. If you are interested in starting an unrestricted fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BAF is honored to announce the establishment of the Stoutamyer Scholarship Fund, in memory of Raymond “Pody” Stoutamyer. Raymond taught science and biology in Wyoming County for nearly 40 years at Oceana and Pineville high schools. The scholarship is to benefit students with financial need from Wyoming East High School, to enable their quest for higher education while reducing their financial burden.
Raymond, fondly known as Pody, was born in Augusta County, VA, August 20, 1933. He grew up spending summers on the farm and the remainder of his time in Rainelle, WV. He had many dear friends from Rainelle, and just as many wild, wonderful stories about growing up. He was well-liked, a multi-sport athlete, and quite a comedian. He joined the military and served in Korea as military police (MP) and brought great honor to his role in bringing home soldiers killed in the line of duty.
He attended Concord college and met the love of his life, Nancy Louise Gunter. They spent the next 65 years together. They graduated from Concord and received master's degrees from Marshall University. He continued to play sports in college, where he joined the tennis team and played football briefly, because someone bet him that he couldn't make the team.
His passion to teach made an impact on generations and he cared about each student's education to guide them to a better life. He was loved and respected because that is what he gave to his students first. His home was always open, and he and Louise hosted many impromptu gatherings on the back porch and badminton court. He also coached tennis for many years, and played well into his 70's.
An avid outdoorsman, he loved to hunt and fish. He travelled to Canada to fish and fly fishing became his passion later in life. He was still a sharpshooter at 88. He loved to travel with Louise, her sister Daisy, and Daisy's husband Richard. They saw the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, New Orleans, etc., played many games of cards, and of course, kept score.
He was an amazing father to Rick and Chris Ann. He taught them to be curious about the world, love nature, be observant, conscientious, kind, competitive, free-spirited, fun, funny, take risks, and to follow their dreams. He was so proud of them and the lives they built with their families. He loved his three granddaughters with all his heart, and had wonderful relationships with every niece, nephew, and cousin.
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “Stoutamyer” in the memo to BAF, 1210 S. Kanawha Street, Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting a fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email email@example.com.